Thursday, February 25, 2010

What to say?

The past couple of weeks - ever since we received the bad result on the nuchal fold test - people have been trying to give us various words of encouragement. I try to accept them all with grace because I know that the person talking to us is trying to help somehow. But some things are more encouraging than others, and some don't help as much but instead make me more upset. Maybe someone else in my position would be encouraged by it, I don't know.

For me, what has been encouraging me has been the simple "I'm thinking of you guys" or "I'm praying for you". Another encouraging thought has been when people have given us different scriptures - if you don't know the words to say, there are often words in the Word of God that will be encouraging.

I have found a lot of encouragement in talking to my friend Heather who not too long ago, lost her baby girl Madelyn. Her story is found here. She has walked this road of uncertainty before me and knows what I am going through right now. Just about everything that I have said to her, she has said "Yes, I've been there" - and in a lot of cases, she can even tell me how I am likely to feel as the pregnancy goes on. I hope that our stories deviate - and I'm sure that she hopes that for me as well - but our high-risk pregnancies will still have that common ground regardless of the outcome.

What I personally do not find encouraging is when people tell me that everything is going to be ok. Because everything is NOT ok. I don't say that because I lack faith - but regardless of the outcome of this situation, I have already lost something. I've lost the "perfect, easy pregnancy". I have to go to more frequent check ups. Instead of looking forward to each ultrasound as an opportunity to see our little one, now they are tainted by the knowledge that the doctors are looking to see whether our baby may not make it. I also will probably not be going to my hospital of choice, but I will need to deliver in a hospital more suitable for dealing with high risk cases. Even if the baby turns out to be perfectly normal (which medically is unlikely, but I know that miracles do happen), it is still a hard road that we are walking right now. 

So please, if you know someone who is going through something like this, don't minimise what they are going through with pleasantries that don't really identify where they are at. Acknowledge that they are going through a hard time and need your love and support. Don't tell them what the outcome is going to be unless you're a medical doctor who knows their particular case, or a prophet who has a specific word for their situation (note, if you do tell them what the outcome will be and you are wrong, you will completely discredit yourself). 

I have been on the other side of the fence and I know what it is like to not know what to say. I always mainly just said the simple "Thinking of you, praying for you". But it wasn't until now that I learned that in a lot of situations, that may be the best thing to say after all...


  1. Great post. Just over 2 years ago, my friend's 5 year old son passed away from an illness he had since birth. I've walked the road as their friend during his illness, and I'll walk the road as your friend too. I paced the floor many nights in prayer, and I'll walk it in prayer for you too. I can't physically be there for you, and I can't say magic words to make it better. But I'll pray.

  2. Hi Nic, I honestly never know what to say at these times...and unfortunately I think I tend to be the type who clumsily says something that upsets the person more. But I did find that when I had my miscarriage, knowing that someone cared enough to say something (anything) was generally better than them saying nothing at was that way for me anyway. I will be praying for you all, for strength and grace and anything else the Lord lays on my heart.
    Love Kylee

  3. Bless you dear niece - your courage to speak the way you feel makes me proud to be your aunt. Hold onto your hope and remain true.

  4. You are absolutely right, my friend. I DO hope and pray our stories deviate. And yes, the simplest words of encouragement are always the best.

    Much love to you. I'm so glad you started the blog.

  5. The worst is when someone tells you "if you pray hard enough..." as if your outcome is a result of your effort.
    I always think that the best is when you get a call, email, or letter with a bit of encouragement and the reassurance that your friends/family have you on their hearts and minds.

  6. I agree! Most people don't know what to say, so they either say something stupid or they don't say anything at all. I'm not sure which one is worse, actually.

    We lost our baby to Turner's Syndrome on Halloween last year. We found out she was going to die on September 15th during a routine ultrasound. I know you're scared. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you.